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Gregory Crewdson at Luring Augustine


Not just one but two "art ladies" and their art loving crews were encamped at the Gregory Crewdson show at Luring Augustine Gallery in Chelsea while I was there. The word "alienation" cropped up once or twice but I thought Twin Peaks meets Desperate Houswives. Several of the art lovers could have stepped out of the pictures, something Crewdson probably has in mind when he casts them.

They are impressive, maybe too much so. They take production values through the roof and make any other big manipulated photo look sloppy. There's an almost religious odor to some of them, a fixation with old telephones and a feeling for the kind of dirtiness that comes from deep depression.

One is particularly disturbing: a woman sits at the dinner table with a teenage boy. She looks tired and worn out, he's blank-faced. A piece hock of ham sits on a serving plate with what looks like blood spilling over the edge. There are other places set at the table. The dining room is dark but the kitchen behind, is bright and painted and institutional green. And on and on.

Narrative is back but mostly to cover the fact that individual works can't stand on their own. Crewdson's certainly do because they are like entire narratives condensed into one frame.